Sunburst Falls Highly recommended waterfall for everyone!

Sunburst Falls

Nikon D800, Nikon 17-35mm lens at 24mm, f/16, 2 seconds, ISO 200, polarizing filter.

Beauty Rating:
Roadside view
West Fork Pigeon River
River Basin:
Little Tennessee
4,160 feet
Type and Height:
Long, cascading falls with a main drop of about 20 feet
Pisgah National Forest, Pisgah Ranger District
Sam Knob
Photo Rating:
Waterfall GPS:
From bridge:  N35.33880, W-82.90329
Trailhead GPS:
Google Earth Waterfall Download View waterfall on Google Earth. Link is for a Google Earth file. Click file after download and Google Earth will open and fly to the waterfall. Don't have Google Earth on your computer?

Driving Directions

From the junction of NC 215 and the Blue Ridge Parkway at Beech Gap, drive north on NC 215 for 4.3 miles to where the road crosses the river on a high bridge. A small pullout is on the left just beyond the bridge. The bridge is 13.6 miles south of US 276.


NC 215 crosses West Fork Pigeon River over the middle of Sunburst Falls, providing a unique waterfall view. Ordinarily, I would consider it a distraction for a road to be this close to a waterfall. But in this case, it adds to the scenery. The Civilian Conservation Corps built the single-arch stone bridge in 1937 during the same period it constructed the stone bridges along US 276 in the Brevard North hub. You just don’t see bridges like this anymore. The locals call it High Arch Bridge. Triple Arch Bridge is the one that crosses the river a mile south.

The main part of the waterfall is above the bridge. But if you look over the lower side, you’ll see another cascade falling into a large pool. From the river-left side, you can scramble down a steep path to the edge of the pool to see the waterfall cascading under the bridge. To take full advantage of the photo opportunities here, you’ll have to climb onto the rocks upstream from the bridge on river left. Be careful if you do this, and don’t attempt it if the rocks are wet.

Sunburst Falls was named for the logging town that once stood downstream from the falls at the confluence of West Fork Pigeon River and Little East Fork Pigeon River. Today, much of the old town site is under the waters of Lake Logan.

Sunburst Falls during very high water. Nikon D800, Nikon 17-35mm lens, f/16, 1/10 second, ISO 800. The spray was so intense I did not set up a tripod, but made a very quick handheld shot instead.

Nearby Waterfalls